Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Lilacs should conjure up Walt Whitman's poem, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"
You should be able to capture their fragrance at 50 feet. They should tumble and spill almost as high as the roof like these in Canterbury N.H.Or they can look like this: on one side of the hedge, the streaming traffic along Rte. I93 in New Hampshire, on the other side, a gas station. Since lilac is the state flower, it shows up in some unusual places.
Photo© Alan & Linda Detrick, all rights reserved, Ellen Spector Platt design.
Lilacs, unsprayed make a tasty nibble, along with edible tulip petals and strawberries hand-dipped in dark chocolate.
But all the lilacs I showed above are for people who have land, property, gardens, room.
I, like some other New Yorkers have only CONTAINERS. I'm not complaining, even though it might sound that way. I know I'm extremely lucky to have a garden here, even if it's not 'mine'.
When a few years ago I was given a dwarf lilac 'Bloomerang' by the breeder Proven Winners, I secretly scoffed and sneered. This puny thing couldn't be a REAL lilac.
Low and behold, it is. Below is one small shrub, now three years old, blooming with vigor on my rooftop. In the foreground not quite ready to bud, are self sown seedlings of the bachelor button 'Blueboy', my favorite old variety. They'll be in bloom just when the lilacs tail off. I'll keep deaheading both lilac and bachelor buttons to get a few blooms through most of the summer. Hardy to Zone 3.'Bloomerang' even smells like a lilac, but you have to get up pretty close to sniff. Now could I have one a little bluer please, Sir or Ms Proven Winners?


Lambert said...

So glad to read this post as I have received a lilac 'Bloomerang' earlier this spring and wondered how it would do on my Brooklyn rooftop in a container. Hopefully it will thrive like yours!

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Lambert, my first NYC apartment was in Brooklyn in my grad school days, three children and three careers ago. Brooklyn 'Bloomerang's are guaranteed grow as well, if not better than Manhattan.

meemsnyc said...

I rescued a lilac from Brooklyn last year and it gave us 3 blooms this year. http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2011/04/rescued-lilac.html I have been thinking of getting a Bloomerang as a container plant. Good to know that it does so well!

Kathy said...

When I was in first grade, my mother made a beautiful bouquet with cuttings from her lilac bush to take to my teacher.

Since then I've loved lilacs. The weather in Seattle is sooooo cold, we probably won't have lilacs in bloom until June,

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Kathy, You instantly conjured up warm childhood memories:walking to school in Philadelphia, bunch of lily of the valley or Blaze roses or iris. No wonder I was teacher's pet.

Shady Gardener said...

Yum, lilacs! My neighbors have two rows of them and the scent is quite heady!

My Apios americana have begun to grow. Yea! I'll keep you "posted!" :-)

Ellen Zachos said...

We received this comment last week:

Pięne bzy rosną w waszych ogrodach szkoda że zapach muszęobie wyobrazić...http://wiecznedzieci.blogspot.com/

but it took a while for us to get a translation!

Beautiful lilacs are growing in your gardens. I’m very sorry that I must (only) imagine the smell. Betina

Thanks, Betina!

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